25/10/2020

Hi Church,

Happy Reformation! 


It is always glad, even in current circumstance, or maybe especially during current circumstances, when there is the opportunity to celebrate something of meaning, and even more so when it provides hope.

If we take a step back into the 1500’s: it is remarkable to see how a couple of people inspired a couple more until masses were transformed and given hope by one simple truth…that in a broken world where everything cost you something there is good news that cost you nothing. Yes, traditions had to be questions, yes customs had to be challenged and yes it involved sacrifice, but in the end the good news we all long for was proclaimed in such a way that people of all ages and backgrounds could face this broken world with hope.

Stepping back into our current times: we too have an opportunity to encourage people, and it only takes one, two, maybe a handful in our lifetime with the good news that this broken world is not all that there is to life. There is a creator who loves his creation. There is a God who did not remain distant or apathetic to his people’s suffering and hurts but came into this world to live with us. There is a Saviour who did not merely show us a way to a better life but died for us so that he himself is that better life. There is an unseen yet very real spiritual being that is holy and helpful and lives with us each and every moment of our lives. What we go through here and now has a purpose, death is no longer the end, and there is an eternal life free of all things awful, discouraging, painful, hurtful, anxious and chaotic. 

The God who loves saved us towards this wonderful eternity with him forever. And we receive this as we believe in him as a free gift no strings attached.

Lets continue as the reformation church in removing things that make it hard for others to see God as mentioned above, and lets live our lives in such a way that people would see and meet this God and his free eternal gift when they see and meet us.

You are loved, God is glorious, our joy will become complete.

 
In His service,
Pastor Roelof

18/10/2020

This week I received the sad news that Sarah Cooper, our wonderful and amazing Executive Assistant in the church office is going to move into full-time study next year, and so will be resigning from her role.

We have been blessed to have her in our midst serving Christ and His church for the past few years, and we pray God’s blessing on her future moving forward.

But it does mean that we are now seeking someone to serve our church and wider community through as our Executive Ministry Assistant in the near future (see information and advertisement below).  

And the reason for this change is because the role is more than just providing administrative support, it is a role that provides ministry support to the pastors and the church, and so we are seeking to reflect this in the title, as the Executive Ministry Assistant looks to works with the pastors and the whole church community (including you), seeking to help engage and empower us (the church – the people) to go out into the world with the gospel message of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  

And so we are seeking to reflect that, and encourage you to pass information on this role on to whoever you might think would be a suitable candidate, but also I ask you to pray for the process. 

Pray that God will lead the right person to apply and accept the call to the role, and pray also that God can use that person to (among many other things) assist you (the person praying) as you seek to know Christ, but also go out to make Christ known.  

This last week I was also able to sit down and have a chat with Perry Jones, the Ipswich co-ordinator of Angel Tree Ministry, and it shows us another way that we can, as individuals as a part of the church, and as a wider church community can seek to reach out to the people around us with the good news of Jesus in a practical, hands-on way. 

If you don’t know what Angel Tree Ministry is – it is a ministry working with Prison Fellowship Australia providing children of prisoners Christmas gifts on behalf of their incarcerated mothers and fathers, as well as a simple message about God’s love and forgiveness. 

It provides a crucial link between children and their imprisoned parents, and through Angel Tree, families have been restored, kids have been encouraged, and the Gospel has been proclaimed. 

How can you be involved? (I know you’re asking) – two ways. 
    
 Give towards the PIGS (Special Offering) for this month, which is being collected to provide gifts to the children of these families. Be a volunteer who contacts, ministers to and distributes the gifts on behalf of this ministry.  

If you are interested in the second one, and using this unique opportunity to share Christ’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners, then please speak to the church office – training and mentoring is provided, and it is a great way to give an eternal gift this Christmas. 

As we take part in Angel Tree as a church, I also encourage you to think about other ways that we can minister to our community. 

We have an amazing message, one that in these hard times can provide hope everlasting – how can we share it with others?

 
In His Mission,
Pastor Ben

11/10/2020

Hi Church,

If you follow me via socials you will probably know that last week we procured a new cavoodle puppy whom we have named ‘Leo’.

And while we had planned that he might be friends with our now deceased ‘Connor’, it unfortunately didn’t turn out to be.

But one the things that I find, and you might find this too, is that when we get things that are new, shiny, exciting – we want to tell others about them.

Currently, I think I have worked out a way to weave into any conversation the fact that I have a new puppy and he is cute and his name is ‘Leo’. I’ve even been able to find a way to word it into this message for you.

I wonder if there has been any point in your life where you found Jesus, the message of grace, or an encounter of the Holy Spirit new, exciting or ‘shiny’?

And in that moment – what was your first reaction? Was it to not tell anyone else for fear of what they might say or think of you? Or was it to tell the whole world the love and gospel you have experienced?

Over the past 5 weeks, as we have journeyed through Galatians, the blessing has been the same, and it is taken from Paul’s letter where he writes (in the Message translation): For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do… it is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! (Galatians 6:14-16)

Too often I think we try to please others and fit into being the people that they want us to be. For Paul, it was all about Jesus, and for him the gospel of Christ and him crucified is also so new, so shiny, so exciting, that he doesn’t care about pleasing others, he is caring only about pleasing God.

You see, you are free. That is the gospel message, you are totally new, a free life, but are you living in that freedom? Or are you still controlled by others?

My prayer is that the gospel of Jesus which speaks of the grace of God is enough for you, and rather than be worried about what others may think, you learn to love them so much, that the only way you can love them more is by sharing this message with them.

 In Grace, Pastor Ben.

04/10/2020

Hi Church,

Over the past few weeks, I have been making good use of the ‘Marketplace’ function on Facebook (not dissimilar to Gumtree), as we farewell some of our older furniture to make way for some new pieces, and also getting rid of some of the stuff that has sat in cupboards for years. 

This led to a few people at one of our church locations thinking that they too could go through a similar process with some of the old church items that have laid around for what seems like forever because like all people, we seem to hold some sort of sentimental value on ‘things’.  

It made me think a bit deeper as to why that is the case? What stories do we tell ourselves that make us think that even if I get a new phone, I need to hang on to the old one, and maybe even the one before that in case they all break at once (even though I have never had one break). Or, that was the book that great grandad gave to my child (who just turned 56), and is now actually so faded and worn it can’t be read. You would have your own stories that you tell yourself when holding onto old items too.  .

We hold onto these ‘things’ for a whole lot of supposedly good reasons.And in the church, sometimes it is even worse because old Mrs. such-and-such donated that item.  But someone once told me, “a hearse does not have a towbar.” 
 
What did they mean when they said that? You can’t put all of your ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ in a trailer and tow it to your grave (and you definitely can’t take it to heaven).  

So why do we seem to accumulate more and more ‘things’?  

I wonder if it is because we have our security in the wrong place. Because if we obtain our identity from Jesus, then our security is in Him, and in Him alone. Our approval and welcome from the Father doesn’t rest on our character or our actions, but on Jesus and what he has done for us. Plus nothing. 

So maybe we need to clear out some of the old things in order to make way for more grace, more gospel, more Spirit led love and good works, living in the security of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. 

That’s my challenge for this week – maybe it might be yours as well?…
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Ben.